BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Brazil striker Fred got his first goal just in the whisker of time at the World Cup, scoring as the group stage was coming to an end. He's attributing the change in fortunes to the new mustache.
The much-criticized forward scored Brazil's third goal in a 4-1 win over Cameroon on Monday, helping his team reach the second round.
Fred found the net with a 49th-minute header after a left-flank cross by defender David Luiz. But the striker said there was more to it.
"As incredible as it seems, the ball came in hard and it ended up hitting my mustache," Fred said. "It was a mustache goal."
Teammate Neymar said he was the one who told Fred not to shave his upper lip, predicting it might turn things in his favor.
"I said, 'Come on, Fred, if you leave the mustache you are going to score, the mustache never fails,'" Neymar later explained. "After he scored I went to him and I said, 'See, I told you that it never fails.'"
Fans and local media had been loudly criticizing the Fluminense striker because of his poor performances at the World Cup.
"Thank God that ball went in," Fred said. "The critics were piling a heavy load on me. I just tried to stay calm. The squad was great with me, I need to thank everyone."
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said the goal will help Fred play better the rest of the tournament.
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